SINGAPORE: As people all over the world celebrate Michelle Yeoh’s historic Best Actress win at the 95th Academy Awards on Sunday (12 Mar), Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s wife Ho Ching has recounted her own connection with a member of the Malaysian star’s family.
Pointing out how well-connected the successful Yeoh family of Ipoh is, Mdm Ho said that four prominent members of the family put down their roots in Singapore and served as top surgeons. Three of the retired surgeons – Dr Yeoh Kian Hian and his two brothers – are Ms Yeoh’s uncles while the most prominent Singapore Yeoh, Prof Yeoh Ghim Seng, is her granduncle.
Prof Yeoh, who was described once as “the biggest but fastest Asian surgeon,” was also a ruling party politician. His political career began in 1966 when he was recruited by the People’s Action Party (PAP) to stand in a by-election in Joo Chiat.
He won by a walkover and served as the constituency’s MP for 22 years. He was too busy with medicine to become a minister and so, the PAP made him Speaker of Parliament. In 1977, he became the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Organization’s very first president.
Aside from being one of the longest-serving speakers of any parliament in the world, Prof Yeoh also served briefly as the acting president of Singapore between the death of Yusof Ishak on 23 November 1970 and the inauguration of President Benjamin Sheares on 2 January 1971.
As wife to PM Lee and daughter in law to the late Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore’s founding Prime Minister, Mdm Ho has personally met Prof Yeoh. She recalled on Facebook, today (14 Mar):
“He used to have mangoes after dinner, and he would expertly slice the mango and extract the seed cleanly. It was his way of keeping his skills, but also his way of entertaining his fellow diners.”
Mdm Ho also showered praise upon his grandniece, Michelle Yeoh. Asserting that the 60-year-old star makes women all around the world proud, she said: “All of us in Malaysia, Singapore, Asia, plus women everywhere can be proud of her, and the zest of life she represents. Never Give Up! Bravo and well done!”
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